Stuart Manley: Mixed Open memories can motivate Welsh golfer

By James PontinBBC Wales Sport at Royal Birkdale
Stuart Manley
Welsh golfer Stuart Manley is familiar with the highs and lows of the professional game
2017 Open Championship on the BBC
Venue: Royal Birkdale Dates: 20-23 July
Live: Listen to BBC Radio 5 live commentary and follow text updates - including in-play video clips - on BBC Sport website and mobile app. TV highlights on BBC Two. Click for full times.

As Stuart Manley puts his clubs into the boot of the luxury car that every golfer is given when competing at the Open, there will be much to ponder.

First the positives: This was his debut at the Open and on day one he proved that he has a golf game to compete with the world's best.

His eagle-birdie finish will last long in the memory bank and, for a short spell at least, it was his name which everyone was looking at on top of the famous yellow scoreboards.

Finishing nine over par and missing the cut will certainly feel raw now but, when he reflects on his experience back home in Mountain Ash, there will be much that he can take from his performance.

So what will Manley have taken from playing in the Open? Put simply, golf can sometimes chew you up and spit you out.

Around the turn of his second round he dropped eight shots in five holes. You cannot do that in a major.

What sets apart the best from the runners and riders is their ability to hold their game together when it has the chance of running away from them.

Take Rory McIlroy's front nine on day one - he had a shocker, but pulled himself together and went low on the back nine to get back into the mix.

Stuart Manley on taking the clubhouse lead at the 146th Open Championships.

Perhaps it was all too much for Manley.

He admitted after completing his opening round that it had taken its toll on him.

Suffering from a touch of flu, he was drained. Eighteen holes around the tough links of Royal Birkdale does that to you.

But throw in the fact that it is your debut at the Open and the world's media is waiting to speak to you at the end, it is little surprise that he felt the way he did.

Manley in many ways has been a yo-yo man on the European Tour. He has made no fewer than 13 trips to the qualifying school, having won and then lost his playing rights.

He got into the 146th Open by coming second in the Joburg Open, having entered that event when he was ranked 958th in the world.

But there has always been glimmers of hope and a sparkle of talent from Manley, from his Walker Cup appearance in 2003 to here at the Open 14 years on.

Manley had to wait until he was 38 to experience a Claret Jug journey and the taste will surely leave him wanting more.

Top Stories